This paper analyzes what may have been a mistake by pianist Thelonious Monk playing a jazz solo in 1958. Even in a Monk composition designed for patterned mayhem, a note can sound out of pattern. We reframe the question of whether the note was a mistake and ask instead about how Monk handles the problem. Amazingly, he replays the note into a new pattern that resituates its jarring effect in retrospect. The mistake, or better, the mis-take, was “saved” by subsequent notes. Our analysis, supported by reflections from jazz musicians and the philosopher John Dewey, encourages a reformulation of plans, takes, mis-takes as categories for the interpretation of contingency, surprise, and repair in all human activities. A final section suggests that mistakes are essential to the practical plying and playing of knowledge into performances, particularly those that highlight learning. Copyright © 2016 Presses universitaires de Rennes.
CitationKlemp, N., McDermott, R., Duque, J., Thibeault, M., Powell, K., & Levitin, D. J. (2016). Plans, takes, and mis-takes. Éducation et didactique, 10(3), 105-120. doi: 10.4000/educationdidactique.2598
- Dewey’s “metaphysics of transience”